Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is knowing how to cook important to you?

   I found this video and then this article a few days ago and wanted to pass them along .Both of them are a testament that the economy has yet to turn around and people are still struggling to find jobs, pay the bills and feed themselves.This gentleman is using his cooking skills and the life lessons his parents passed down to him to make it through.

   Some good friends of ours have a saying at their house "We may not have a lot of money but we eat really well." The video,article and our friends motto all make me glad that both Chance and I were taught to cook by our families and later added our professional cooking skills to our stock.Although we do not live on such slim money or have food stamps like Mr Murrieta , money can be tight and with two growing boys to feed every penny and bite counts.Smart shopping, growing our own food,using every scrap and remembering some "forgotten" kitchen skills makes for good food even on a small budget.And dinner can still be good the day before payday...

   The other day was the day before payday and the cupboards were looking bare and I really had to put on my thinking cap to figure out dinner. I also did not have my car to run to the store and riding my bike in pouring rain was not looking all that great ( I know, I know I live in one of the most bike friendly cities where it rains all of the time and I wimp out on riding.) so after rummaging I did find dinner.
 The most hopeful looking ingredients:
   1 Mason jar of Homemade Mayo
   Some left over grilled chicken
   1 Head of Green Cabbage
   1 bunch Lettuce from the garden
   2 Carrots
  1 Apple
  A handful of Raisins.
  Our boys LOVE Chicken Salad Sandwiches which made my choice fairly easy.And we all like Cole Slaw so some sort of veg was there as well.My only problem was I had not baked any bread,oops.
  What would a Homesteader do? ( I should make some bracelets based on that one maybe that would be my fortune.) Bake some Pita/ Pocket Bread. Pita's have been on my list of to be tried for a long time,I just have not gotten around to is all.I think that's been because my old recipe I had called for some ingredient I don't always have on hand or something.But the new recipe I found had such basic stuff I was in luck. Flour, Salt,Yeast and Water I always have those on hand even the day before payday.The Pita's can also be made with in 2 1/2 hours, much faster than if I had tried to make bread. I gave it a whirl and they came out better than any I have ever had.I think that was due to their freshness.I don't understand the science behind how the Pita's puff up but it was fun to watch them balloon up.I fond this especially puzzling since two pages back from the Pita recipe is the recipe for Naan and it is the same ingredients and close enough ratios,Naan is flat but Pita's puff up why is that?  The only difference I could see was the temperatures the two bake at.

   But our menu of Chicken Salad Sandwiches and Cole Slaw is not what I really wanted to blog about today.I wanted to talk about the importance of knowing how to cook.By sharing both of Mr Murrieta's pieces with you I am hoping to ram home the importance of  cooking skills, they can mean you survive or not.

 Survival what does it mean? I found this definition on Wikipedia-

    Survival- noun.  1. The fact or act of surviving continued existence of life.
                       His survival in the open ocean was a miracle; he had fully expected to die.
                               2. (as a modifier) Of ,relating to or aiding survival.            
                       His survival kit had all the things he needed in the wilderness.

I chose this definition of Survival not only for it's definition but for the two sentences using the word. Number one sounds a bit grim because there's no help in sight where as number two is hopeful, "he" has the skills or tools to survive.That sense of hopefulness is the key to my point about the importance of learning to cook,one never knows when you may find yourself in a tight spot and to make it through you are going to need the skills to survive, like the fellow in the woods with his kit or like Mr Murritea using cooking skills to make what could be a sad situation into a livable one.But like any survival plan you have to learn it and practice it before you really need it because one day you could find yourself adrift in the sea.The ending is up to you, sink or swim?
  This posting is the first in a series I am working on which is why the ending of the last paragraph is just kind of hanging there.I have more to say and a couple of stories to share so check back for the next installment.

   Broody Hen Report: Mama is still sitting on all 7 of her eggs.She is kind of flat yet fluffed up and grumpy when you open the coop to check on her,that's normal.She also just stares straight ahead like she is in deep meditation.She's like her own Buddha,sitting on a throne of straw deep in a mediation about the cycle of life.Ohm cluck Ohmmm. She leaves the nest once a day for about 15 minutes to eat and make the biggest chicken poo's I have ever seen just like our book said she would.When Chance has gone out to collect her daily egg she has not minded one bit.Chance just picks her up,sets her down next to the nest ,gets the egg and places Mama back.She never even stands up,she just sits there.I am marking off the days on the calendar and waiting.


  1. I am looking forward to this series as we are striving to improve our at home cooking skills and productivity.

  2. Ommm cluck Ommmm!!! That gave me a great big laugh, which is always good, but also what a great description of the broody...

  3. CA-Good let me know if there are particulars I can write about.

    Alison- Keep laughing maybe the Sun will hear you and return.

  4. Can you share the recipe for the pita ? I'd love to try that one.

  5. Todd-Sure thing.We have a busy weekend ahead of us so it may not be until Monday.If you want it sooner email me. hrafinstaad(at)aoldotcom

  6. I cook, but I never make bread. Whatever happened with the bread/migraine connection?

  7. Margaret- We never found one.Issac ate store bought bread and still had migraines. The meds from the doctor did not work,changing his diet did not work,nor did more sleep.But he has upped his water intake before riding (he rides BMX bikes and rides 2-4 hours a day.)is seeming to help.I don't know,kind of give up and kind of have not.When you have Crohn's disease you get used to odd random things happening with your body that no one can explain.Your whole system is more sensitive than the doctors really understand or will talk about.

  8. I keep meaning to experiment with flat breads.
    I love pita, naan, that ethiopian sponge bread (whatever it's called), and tortillas, but somehow I've never tried making them myself.
    For me the barrier is doing it the first time. I'd really rather make it with someone who know what they are doing the first time.